When 15-year-old Lucy Ridder learns that her mother, Sandra, is being released from jail, she feels mixed emotions. Not only did her mother kill her father, but before Sandra was arrested, Lucy watched her bury a gun and a diskette, both of which Lucy retrieved.

Lucy knows that before Sandra comes home she will stop at the place where she buried the items so she camps out there. Sandra shows up, but before Lucy can speak to her, a man appears and demands the diskette. When he doesnt get it, he kills Sandra, and Lucy goes on the lam.

Solving the murder and disappearance falls to Sheriff Joanna Brady, who has her hands full. Not only is her wedding coming up in two weeks, but the daughter of a neighbor has accused her of causing her fathers death. For Joanna, it becomes a race to find Lucy, solve the murder, clear her name and pull off her wedding!

With its strong emphasis on family relations, DEVILS CLAW is a warm, intriguing mystery. Joanna Brady is very likeable in this outing, making for a most satisfying book (Aug., 416 pp., $7.50—Hardcover published June 2000)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg